Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



National Park Service Technical Report


The shoreline at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument (GEWA) is eroding and vulnerable to storms. Recent storms, such as Hurricane Isabel and Tropical Storm Ernesto impacted the region in 2003 and 2006, respectively. Large losses of the bank prompted the National Park Service to determine the vulnerability of the shore and its associated cultural, natural and archeological resources. This project maps the existing shoreline along the Potomac River and at the Memorial House on Popes Creek, provides an assessment of shore and bank dynamics, determines the rate of shoreline change between 1937 and 2007, and presents an analysis of vulnerability for the park. The shoreline at GEWA is varied with high, vertical eroding banks and low swampy drainage areas with fronting beaches along the Potomac River which are eroding at an average rate of 1 ft/yr (0.3 m/yr). However, storm induced losses can be greater; as much as 30 ft of bank was lost along sections of the park between 2002 and 2007. In Popes Creek, extensive and fringing marshes are eroding at lower rates, 0.3 to 0.7 ft/yr (0.1-0.2 m/yr). Vulnerability from a management perspective took into account bank height, shore type, erosion rates, proximity to infrastructure, and potential loss of archaeological resources. Three areas or 3,800 ft (1,200 m) of shoreline were rated as most vulnerable and two areas or 1,000 ft (300 m) were rated as vulnerable.



Shoreline Erosion, Shoreline Management, GIS, National Park Service, George Washington Birthplace


This project was funded by the National Park Service Recreation Fee Program’s Storm Vulnerability Project (PMIS 107946). In addition, some of the data collection and methodology development used in this report were funded by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Coastal Resources Management Program through Grants NA17OZ2355, NA17OZ1142,and NA04NOS4190060 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended